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AGCOM sticks YouTube and ‘King of Slots’: 1.45 million fine for gambling advertising

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AGCOM has sanctioned Google and TOP ADS LTD for 1.45 million euros. The authority accused the two companies of the violation of the prohibition of gambling advertising , as established by art. 9 of the decree-law n. 87/218.

The provision does not refer so much to so-called pre-roll advertisements, i.e. advertisements generally shown automatically before the start of a video, as to the contents of a specific YouTube channel, called Spike . As we write this news, the channel is no longer accessible from Italy, however some videos of the channel are still indexed by the Google search engine.

As pointed out by the same authority, this is the first measure of this type against a  video sharing platform . For the first time, a platform designed for video sharing was sanctioned for hosting the promotion of games with cash prizes , in violation of the legal requirement that came into force in 2018, the so-called Dignity Decree.

It is worthwhile to focus on the fact that the law not only sanctions the advertiser, but also the owner of the medium, that is, the site used to spread the advertisements. It’s worth it because – as reported for months, both by the press and by the users of the platforms in question – gambling-related content has exploded on sites like YouTube and Twitch for a couple of years now.

Distinguishing ‘genuine’ videos from collaborations with undeclared advertising purposes is often extremely difficult. AGCOM’s interest could lead to a squeeze against gambling-related content. After all, if the risk is to pay six-zero fines on a cyclical basis, perhaps it is better for Google and Amazon to completely disregard gambling by obscuring any content that can hide – often in a way that is not even so hidden – a hustler to casinos and companies. of online betting.

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In its injunction, the authority points out that Google had passively hosted the illegal advertising content, without taking the minimum and appropriate measures necessary to limit the circulation of gambling advertisements. AGCOM takes care to underline a further fact: YouTube and Spike were linked by a partnership agreement, being the content creator a verified partner of the site – a qualification, the latter, which is attributed to content creators when certain results are achieved. .

AGCOM has ordered Google to block over 625 content deemed illegal. Such content must also be removed from the spikeslot.com site.

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